Outside of gaming, horror and horror movies is my second passion (outside of that whole family thing). So when a horror based RPG comes across my desk, I spend a tad bit more time with it than other new systems.
Directors Cut Survival Horror is exactly what you want in a system when running a horror RPG on a beer and pretzels night. It is simple, intuitive and incorporates mood quite well.
Directors Cut, Crispy Zombie Production first product, is horror in a 97 page PDF. The writers obviously know what makes a horror movie tick and how to fit that into an RPG while keeping suspense. They spend a great deal of time in the first few and last few chapters explaining how to set up your Survivor Cut game night. This includes music suggestions, player seating and tone.
The system itself is scarily simple. It is as simple as you want a system to be when the main focus is going to be on role-playing. When trying to create an atmosphere of horror at a game table, you do not want too many rolls. The more “game” you place into it, the more “role playing” you take out of the game. Crispy Zombie gets that. You will need no more than four d6s to play this game. There is a creative mechanic that combines your hit points, saves, and action points into one number that doubles as a deterrent to making erroneous rolls.
Skills are nicely packaged into a couple dozen options you can place bonus points into. They are descriptively vague enough to prevent players from becoming too bogged down on the numbers game. There is no skill that you can not perform, only skills that you perform better than others.
I do hate that, like most horror RPGs, Survivor’s Cut incorporates player elimination into the game play. Obviously people have to die in a horror movie, but in a game setting this can be a nuisance.
For the Director
This was an easy game to run. It can be used for a three or four session campaign, but I doubt any of the characters will last longer than that.
For the Player
The edges are very creative. Many are tropes of horror movie characters that provide big benefits when facing udder evil.
The Iron Word
You can do zombie invasions, slashers or psychological thrillers and Directors Cut is easy enough to blend with all of those genres. A great way to get ready for Halloween, Directors Cut will satisfy any horror RPG cravings your group may be having.